Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Sep 2017 21:20 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source

Digital services offered and used by public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st-century democratic nations. To establish trustworthy systems, government agencies must ensure they have full control over systems at the core of our digital infrastructure. This is rarely the case today due to restrictive software licences.

Today, 31 organisations are publishing an open letter in which they call for lawmakers to advance legislation requiring publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software licence.

Good initiative, and a complete and utter no-brainer. Public money, public code.

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RE: This old chestnut again
by kwan_e on Sun 17th Sep 2017 09:30 UTC in reply to "This old chestnut again"
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You have a bunch of criticisms that don't take into account the alternative that we already see is worse.

Open source quite often means "you can take it free of charge and not pay anything". There are companies out there that make money out of such software, but that's because they are so big, it is difficult to compete with them.

And yet startups keep popping up and use open source software. Open source software is just as much a way to decrease barriers to entry as it is for big companies to get free stuff. Tell us a way to decrease barriers to entry for startups without open source.

The idea that tax payers should pay for new open source software development and then give it away to Google or Facebook to increase their profits, is rather grotesque.

Uh, tax payers are already paying for software to be developed and basically "given away" to the company that is contracted to develop it to increase their profits.

It is a myth that open source software is better and more secure. If you have one million monkeys review open source code, this will not make it any more secure.

Yes, review on its own doesn't make anything better unless acted upon. But you can't even have a chance of acting on anything if review can't happen in the first place; and the action will be much slower.

Think about Heartbleed. Sure, it was a silly vulnerability to have let through. Was it really the end of the world? The problem was identified quickly, the bug located quickly, then the bug was fixed quickly. Trying getting that with closed source software. You can't even have the conversation and must hope the vendor will allocate resources to it.

There are software engineering techniques that ensure software is designed correctly and free of bugs, but quite often they are not used for the majority of software, because they are too expensive or time consuming, or require software developers to change their old habits, well good luck with that when somebody is coding for fun in their spare time.

How is software developed for public services "coding for fun in their spare time"? This is about source code developed under public contract. Now you're just having your bone to pick with open source instead of coming up with a relevant argument.

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